Czech Republic Plans To Combat Terrorism By Arming Its Citizens

REUTERS/Eric Thayer

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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The lower house of the Czech parliament voted to put gun owners’ rights in the constitution Wednesday, arguing it protects citizens from Islamist terrorists.

The European Commission passed stricter gun laws in December in response to a growing terror threat. The Czech Republic was one of three countries to oppose the changes, and it is now about to make it legal for citizens to use firearms to protect the security of the country.

“This constitutional bill is in reaction to the recent increase of security threats, especially the danger of violent acts such as isolated terrorist attacks … active attackers or other violent hybrid threats,” a draft of the bill reads.

Critics argue the changes will never take effect as European Union directives overrule the proposed legislation.

“Putting it in the constitution is therefore nonsense,” Jan Farský, the deputy mayor of Chovanec, told Hospodarske Noviny.

The bill passed the lower house by a large majority. It will now go through the upper house before President Milos Zeman can sign it into law. Zeman previously supported more restrictions on guns in the country but had a change of heart after a series of terror attacks across Europe. (RELATED: Czech President Wants to Give Citizens More Guns In Response To Terror Threat)

“Earlier I spoke against possession of large amounts of weapons [in the hands of the people],” Zeman said in an interview with newspaper Blesk in July, 2016. “After those attacks, I do not think so any more.”

EU recently launched legal action against the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary for allegedly breaching their obligations to the union by refusing to take refugees.

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